Skip to main content

Full text of "The Cambridge Natural History"

See other formats

PERE DAVID'S DEER                              293

the family Cervidae concerns the rudimentary fifth and second
toes. In Capreolu-s, Ifydropotes, Mo&eh-us, dices, Hanytfer, and
Pudua there are considerable remains of the lower parts of
metacarpals II. and V. ; in the other genera smaller traces of
the upper ends of the same bones.
The two rnosfc abnormal genera are MoscJi-us and JETydropotes,
more particularly the former, which neither Sir "V. Brooke nor
Professor Garrod allow to be members of the family at all. Mosck-us
is usually placed in a special sub-family by itself, Moschinae, the
remaining Deer being referred to another sub-family, Cervinae.
Sub-Fam. 1. Gervinae.—The genus Cervus comprises rather
over twenty existing species, which, except the "Wapiti (C*.
canadensis), are exclusively Old World in distribution. The prin-
cipal features of variation in the genus, in accordance with which
it has been divided up into sub-genera, are (1) palmated (Fallow
Deer, Dama) or non-palmated antlers; (2) adults spotted with
white at all ages and seasons (Axis), or in summer only (Psevdaxis),
or not at all; (3) spotted or unspotted young; (4) existence or
absence of rudimentary canines in the upper jaw.
Among the members of this genus, Cervus (JSlapJmrus)
davidianus is interesting as having been first observed by the
missionary Pere David in a park belonging to the Emperor of
China near Pekin. Its horns are remarkable for dividing early
into two branches of equal length, of which the anterior again
branches into two. Specimens of this Deer were ultimately
obtained for the Zoological Society's Gardens.
The species of Gervus are fairly distributed between the Palae-
aretic and the Indian regions. The Palaearctic species, such as
LiihctorfFs Deer (Fig. 152), are mainly Asiatic. Cervus elaphvts
and Oervws da-ma, alone are European and British. The former
of coiirse is the Bed Deer, the latter the Fallow Deer. The
Hed Deer is reddish-brown in summer and greyish-brown in
winter, with the white patch on the rump so common in the
Deer tribe. The Red Deer is genuinely wild in Scotland, in
certain parts of Devonshire and Westmoreland, and in the £Few
Forest. At the beginning of the last century, according to
Gilbert "White, there were 500 head of deer in Wolmer Forest,
which were inspected by Queen Anne, The antlers may have as
many as forty-eight points; and a stag with more than the three
anterior tines is termed a " Hoyal Hart.** Tiie Fallow Deer lias